Football/Soccer

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger calls for quick response from Munich mauling

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has called on his team to stay together as they aim to bounce back from their humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich at Sutton United Picture: AP

ARSENE Wenger has called for his Arsenal players to show they can deal with their thrashing at Bayern Munich by seeing off non-league Sutton in the FA Cup.

The Frenchman's long reign has come under intense scrutiny following a 5-1 Champions League reverse in Germany, while two defeats in three Premier League games have all-but ended hopes of a domestic title.

Now Wenger, who has revealed he will decide on his Arsenal future in March or April, takes his squad full of international talent to face Vanarama National League outfit Sutton at Gander Green Lane.

Having already said he will field a strong side on Sutton's 3G artificial pitch, Wenger has also urged his players to react to the negativity which followed their humbling in Bavaria.

Asked how quickly players can shake off such a defeat, the 67-year-old said: "It will never be quick.

"You keep that with you for your whole life but overall, on the other hand, in life if we dwell too much on the past we forget to prepare for the future.

"Part of a successful life is to basically deal with disappointments and focus 100 per cent on what is in front of you and show you can deal with that."

Wenger has also refused to lay the blame at the feet of any one player, at least publicly, and reckons Arsenal can address their recent slide more easily if everyone at the club remain as one.

"When you have a heavy defeat like that it's difficult to come out on one individual," he added.

"You look at the way we conceded goals and you can as well criticise some other players. But overall for every single player it's always to try to get up to the next level and he is like everybody else.

"I would say it's more about character and being united because it's important you do not get in a blame culture and focus completely on being united to respond well."

Meanwhile, Sutton manager Paul Doswell has admitted Wenger must field a severely weakened team if his non-league outfit are to have any chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.

In the last round, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were among the Arsenal starters against Southampton as the Gunners cruised to a 5-0 victory.

And Doswell, despite Arsenal's recent slump, has written off his team's chances if Wenger fields a similar starting line-up.

"If he plays the team that beat Southampton 5-0 in the last round, then that would hammer us," said Doswell.

"I think if you see Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez on the team sheet, our chance doesn't come beyond nought. But if they put another team out then it does get up to the ones and two per cents.

"Our only chance is if he puts out an U23 reserve side out because National League sides can compete against academy players. Then we would have a real chance."

Doswell, who will present Wenger with a £300 bottle of red wine, believes a draw would rank among the greatest shocks in the world's oldest club competition.

"The best result for the players would be a 0-0," added Doswell. "If we were to get a draw and we could get back to the Emirates Stadium it would be one of the biggest results in the cup's history and for the players.

"I think half of my team support Arsenal, so the chance for them to go to the Emirates and just have a great day out would be their preferred result."

Four Arsenal academy graduates now play for Sutton after failing to make the grade at the Premier League club.

Craig Eastmond will return from a three-match ban to face his old team while Roarie Deacon is also set to line-up against his former employers. Jack Jebb, however, is cup-tied and Jeffrey Monakana is injured.

"There is a responsibility on clubs like us in this community to get lads in that are 16, 17, 18 and 19 and not feeling like they are worthless," Doswell said.

"It is a very difficult path mentally for a lot of the kids who are coming out of academies to get their head around what has happened.

"It does lead to some bad situations and we are a little beacon of light at the moment.

"But life is all about the money and the only way we can make this happen is if we get as much out of the FA Cup run as we possibly can. We won't waste a penny."

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Football/Soccer